Samuel Adams' Growing Rebel IPA Family

Last year, Samuel Adams launched Rebel IPA, their take on a West Coast IPA. In a departure from their typical branding, the Boston-based brewery gave Rebel a fresh label design (sans the picture of Samuel Adams).  I profiled Rebel IPA last summer and enjoyed it. Less than a year later, Rebel IPA has been blessed with a pair of siblings!

Capitalizing on session IPA-mania, Rebel Rider IPA weighs in at 4.5% ABC and 45 IBUs. For those that want an extra heaping helping of hops and alcohol, Rebel Rouser Double IPA is at your service. This bad boy is 8.5% ABV and a hefty 85 IBUs.

The folks at Samuel Adams sent me a sample of each complete with a fancy taster tray. I cracked open the three bottles for a side-by-side tasting. Here are my tasting notes:

Rebel Rider IPA:  Citrusy aroma with tangerine and grapefruit. Taste of cereal and grainy malt in addition to a grapefruit and herbal hop bitterness, which lingers in the finish. A touch of alcohol is present in taste, which surprised me given its low 4.5% ABV content. Overall hop bitterness is prominent, but not overwhelming.

Rebel IPA:  Grapefruit and tangerine are also present in the aroma and taste, but with more dominant piney notes. The malt base is bready, with a mild dose of caramel. It's medium bodied, has a resinous mouthfeel, and finishes with a lingering piney bitterness.

Rebel Rouser Double IPA:  While citrus and pine are again present in aroma and taste, caramel sweetness, tropical fruit, and mild alcohol also present. Rouser is more dank than the others. It's full bodied, with a high level of grapefruit and piney hop bitterness that are balanced by a sweet malt backbone.

As you might expect (and can see in the picture below), the beer's golden color intensifies as you move from Rebel Rider (left) to Rebel Rouser (right). In terms of body and mouthfeel, Rebel Rouser was far more full and chewy than its little siblings.

I think it was a great idea to expand the Rebel IPA line. I love IPAs, but prefer different "weights" at different times. Sometimes I want a sessionable option, and on other occasions I prefer a more heavy duty offering. I think these three beers would make an excellent variety case or 12-pack.

It was fun tasting the three Rebels side-by-side. If all three are available to you, try a similar tasting and compare / contrast them yourself. 

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Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Samuel Adams Rebel Rider Session IPA

BOSTON – The Samuel Adams brewers are proud to finally release two new brews to the Rebel IPA family: Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Rebel Rider Session IPA. These two new brews are inspired by the West Coast hops found in Rebel IPA, a West Coast-style IPA released for the first time in 2014. All brews in the Rebel IPA family are brewed to maximize the aromatics and flavors of the brewers’ favorite American hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest. In particular, these new brews follow Rebel IPA in emphasizing the fruity/juicy characteristics of the newer West Coast hop varieties like Amarillo and Simcoe.

Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser is a Double IPA, a style brewed to showcase the hop character of West Coast hops at 85 IBUs and a higher alcohol content. Samuel Adams Rebel Rider is a Session IPA, a brew with intense hop flavors and aromas but with lower alcohol content and 45 IBUs for session drinking.

To create a Double IPA and a Session IPA that showcase the unique flavors of West Coast hop varietals, the brewers didn’t simply double Rebel IPA’s hops to create Rebel Rouser Double IPA, or cut them in half to brew Rebel Rider Session IPA. Both of these new brews were developed after dozens of test batches to perfect the addition of different hop varieties to the kettle, which contribute hop flavor and bitterness, and different hopping techniques during the dry-hopping process, which contributes hop aroma to the brews.

Rebel Rouser Double IPA
Rebel Rouser, at 8.4% ABV and 85 IBUs, is brewed with more than five pounds of hops per barrel and showcases bright hop flavors of pine, citrus, floral and spice, and is accented by a pale malt blend and a higher alcohol content to create a big, flavorful brew. To impart the bold, unapologetically hoppy notes characteristic of a Double IPA, several hop varieties were carefully chosen and added to the kettle including Bravo, Galaxy, Simcoe®, and Centennial.

To balance hop bitterness and showcase hop aroma, five American hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest are used during the dry-hopping process to impart specific aromatics to the final Rebel Rouser recipe including:
  • Amarillo Hops: Orange, grapefruit, and notes of tangerine with sweetness from the fruit character
  • Cascade Hops: Piney, resinous, floral, spicy, citrus and grapefruit notes
  • Centennial Hops: Medium citrus, intense floral and woody aromas
  • Simcoe® Hops: Grapefruit, juicy character
  • Zeus Hops: Earthy, spicy and citrus overtones

Rebel Rider Session IPA
At the other end of the IPA spectrum, Rebel Rider is a bold yet mellow Session IPA with all the hop character of a classic West Coast-style IPA but with a lighter body at 45 IBUs and 4.5% ABV.

Like with Rebel Rouser, each hop variety lends a unique character to Rebel Rider’s flavor profile. Rebel Rider is brewed with Citra, Topaz and Cascade and dry-hopped with a variety of West Coast hops. Dry-hopping highlights the flavor and aroma of the hops rather than boiling them off or increasing bitterness. When used in dry-hopping, the hop varieties in Rebel Rider express notes including:
  • Centennial Hops: Medium citrus notes, intensely floral with hints of wood
  • Cascade Hops: Varying degrees of piney, resinous, floral, spicy, citrus and grapefruit notes
  • Simcoe® Hops: Grapefruit, juicy character

What Seth Adams, Brewer at the Samuel Adams nano-brewery, has to say about these additions to the Rebel family: “We worked hard and had a lot of fun experimenting and developing Rebel Rider and Rebel Rouser IPA in our nano-brewery. Working on a small system, we’re able to tweak the recipes and create lots of test batches with different hop varieties, quantities of hops and recipes for dry-hopping. We offered early batches on draft at our Boston Brewery so that visitors could try them, until we perfected the recipe. These two brews use some of my favorite West Coast hop varieties and both feature robust hop flavor and aroma without palate-scorching bitterness. In fact, all three Rebel beers – Rebel IPA, Rebel Rouser Double IPA and Rebel Rider Session IPA – use Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe hops as part of their recipe, which is a cool thread that ties all three brews together.”

How to get your hands on these brews:

  • Samuel Adams Rebel Rider Session IPA is currently available on draft, in six-packs nationwide for a suggested retail price of $7.99-$9.99, and in 12-packs for a suggested retail price of $14.99-$17.99 (prices vary by market).
  • Samuel Adams Rebel Rouser Double IPA is currently available on draft and in six-packs nationwide for a suggested retail price of $8.99-$10.00 (prices vary by market).
  • To find where Samuel Adams brews are sold near you, visit:

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